Spain start their World Cup qualifying as overwhelming favourites to top Group B but Luis Enrique will know that Sweden and Thursday's opponents Greece will offer a thorough examination of his side's qualities over the coming months.
Though La Furia Roja ended 2020 in style with a 6-0 dismantling of Germany there were plenty of troubling moments at the end of last year, including defeat to Ukraine in Kiev and a run of six games from eight where they scored one goal or fewer. Greece are unlikely to make it easy for Spain to score plenty and look to be finding form under John van't Schip even if they were beaten to top spot in their Nations League group by Slovenia. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
- Date: Thursday, Mar. 24 | Time: 3:45 p.m. ET
- Location: Estadio Municipal -- Granada, Spain
- TV/Live stream: ESPN+
- Odds: Spain -800; Draw +650; Greece +2000 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Spain: Though holdovers from Spain's golden era remain there is an increasingly youthful look to this squad with first call-ups for Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, Sporting's defender Pedro Porro, teenager Pedri and Bryan Gil, the Sevilla youngster who has been thriving on loan at Eibar this season. "I really liked him from the first talk I had with him," Spain boss Luis Enrique said of Gil.
"He can contribute a lot to our football style and he has many things. He is intense and intelligent when it comes to attacking and defending." Gil's debut may come off the bench with Mikel Oyarzabal and Gerard Moreno the most likely options to flank Alvaro Morata but with Dani Olmo and Ferran Torres also available to Enrique there is plenty of young promise out wide for Spain.
Greece: Prior to the start of this season Giorgos Giakoumakis, 26, had scored 25 goals in his career. He already has 27 this season and the VVV-Venlo striker has nine more Eredivisie goals than any other player in 2020-21.
Of course European football history is littered with recent examples of players who have struggled to take their scoring exploits in the Dutch league to a higher level and Thursday's game in Granada could offer an indication as to whether Giakoumakis has the quality to shine at the highest level.
Greece are unlikely to be an easy out for Spain but Enrique's side will have talent on the pitch and on the bench to carry the day. PICK: Spain 2 Greece 0